Lego Marvel Super Heroes
- Street Date:
- November 15th, 2013
- Reviewed by:
- Bill Braun
- Review Date:1
- January 5th, 2014
- Game Release Year:
- Warner Brothers
- Traveller's Tales
- ESRB Rating:
- E10+ (Everyone 10 and older)
PS4 version reviewed. Review was done with a mix of the drop-in, drop-out co-op and single player.
Developer Traveller's Tales has been creating license-based Lego video games for several years now, and I've been a fan since the beginning. From 'Harry Potter' to 'Star Wars', 'Pirates of the Caribbean' and 'Indiana Jones', it has become difficult to not associate the Lego logo without fond gaming memories. Their latest offering – 'Lego Marvel Super Heroes' – is unquestionably the culmination of their years of experience developing video games. Embarking on a journey that spans decades of memorable characters and plotlines, Traveller's Tales jumps headfirst into the Marvel Universe. Due to the tricky nature of contracts, 'Lego Marvel Super Heroes' is one of the few places where the Marvel Universe can truly be represented. (2009's 'Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2' would seem to be the last of its franchise.) Add in the power of Lego, and it is with an air of confidence that Traveller's Tales asks players to experience the combination of Lego and Marvel.
The Game Itself: Our Reviewer's Take
As is the case in just about any Marvel story, the safety of the world is once again in jeopardy. Dr. Doom has enlisted the help of Magneto and Loki to form a powerhouse trifecta of villainy, along with dozens of other recognizable baddies to carry out their evil plot. By collecting all of the cosmic bricks (pieces from the Silver Surfer's Surfboard) Dr. Doom has intentions of creating his ultimate weapon. But what the weapon is and what it will be used for won't be realized until the final moments of the game. Naturally, it's up to the equally impressive and widely diverse selection of playable heroes to save the day.
With so many characters to play as and unlock while you progress through the story, Traveller's Tales keeps the controls basic and intuitive for all ages. Heroes of a common variety that rely on similar abilities – The Hulk and The Thing's brute force, Thor and Storm's power to wield thunder – are all comparably controlled; keeping the learning curve down to the absolute minimum when faced with more than 100 playable characters.
Each of the 15 chapters progress in a similar manner - work with a group of three to four heroes, play through a new environment, solve a variety of hero-specific puzzles, and fend off waves of enemies. Along the way you'll destroy everything in your wake, feeding your addiction to collect as many Lego studs as possible. The missions generally end with an obligatory boss battle stretched across several parts. But where the individual chapter structure may appear repetitive, the boss battles are well thought out and fun to play.
The environmental and character variety keeps things fresh and unique across the 12+ hour campaign. One level will hurtle the group of heroes through a portal and into Asgard, while another will find a completely new trio doing battle across the halls of Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters. The puzzles remain specific to individual heroes' powers and feature a variety strong enough to prevent a ho-hum feeling. Add to this a good number of activities as you navigate the streets of New York City and this Lego game will keep players surprisingly busy for hours on end.
Looking to partner up with a friend? Split-screen co-op continues to be a competent option for 'Lego Marvel Super Heroes.' Functioning like many of the Lego games before it, Traveller's Tales offers their unique split screen mechanic that intuitively shifts perspective depending on the location of each player, making for an enjoyable and easy to manage experience. However, as fun as it is to play any Lego game with a friend on the couch the developers are missing an opportunity to take their games to the next level with online co-op. It's a common feature for other co-operative console games and would be a welcome addition for Traveller's Tales' robust feature list.
The Video: Sizing Up the Picture
Available across PC, console, and handheld devices, this review is based on my playthrough of 'Lego Marvel Super Heroes' on the PlayStation 4. And let me be the first to say that a Lego game has never look better or played smoother. The minute details of the individual Lego blocks and the quick build animations continue to impress with 'Lego Marvel Super Heroes.'
Adding to this, Traveller's Tales flexes their animation muscle with some nicely rendered set pieces and environmental effects. Of special note is the S.H.I.E.L.D. Helicarrier that players use as a mission hub and spend a fair amount of time on. From a distance the menacing aircraft looks more at home with a blockbuster sci-fi epic than the more comedic Lego adventure. Water effects are also nicely represented and quite believable as Iron Man flies mere feet above the surface. Visually, the Lego games continue to impress, and the improved hardware of the PlayStation 4 provides a solid frame rate to accommodate for the larger, more chaotic, battles that ensue.
The Audio: Rating the Sound
When Traveller's Tales made the leap from pantomime to full voice-over it catapulted their games to an entirely new level of comedic finesse, and 'Lego Marvel Super Heroes' does not disappoint. Even with a staggering amount of main and supporting characters, the slapstick humor that the Lego games have been synonymous with since making that change in development never takes a break. I'm still laughing at some of the Hulk's comments about Wolverine's facial hair.
In general, the voice actors do a wonderful job of capturing their particular character and bringing them to life. While most of the voices you hear might sound vaguely familiar, fans of the latest 'Avengers' movie or 'Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.' television series will immediately recognize Clark Gregg as the voice of the character he has since made famous – Agent Phil Coulson. He is the dry-humored voice of reason, consistently helping you through the game. It was the icing on the cake.
Very much a standard feature of prior Lego games, as chapters are completed and additional characters are unlocked, you are free to replay sections of the game as you see fit. If you have intentions of discovering every hidden collectible this becomes a necessity as many will remain hidden or out of reach without the use of specific Super Hero abilities. Free Play mode allows you to choose the chapters and characters you wish to play as and encourages you to explore even further.
HD Bonus Content: Any Exclusive Goodies in There?
While aboard the S.H.I.E.L.D. Helicarrier players can visit the Med Bay to test out the character creator. It's a nice bonus feature for the more creative types that are looking for a means to mix-and-match individual parts from a variety of characters. Hair and helmet, shield and weapons, and practically everything in between, fans of the Marvel Universe have yet another reason to stick with 'Lego Marvel Super Heroes' well beyond the campaign's conclusion. When your character creations are finished they can be dropped into the Lego world to test their mettle and see if they qualify for the next round of Super Hero try-outs.
Traveller's Tales has been creating Lego games for a long time now. They have found a formula that works exceptionally well and continue to breath life into a genre that is mostly looked down upon – the licensed videogame. With each new offering I continue to find improvements and more reasons to tap into my inner Lego spirit. Although I continue to hold out hope for the much-needed option of online co-op, I remain generally satisfied to enjoy their games the good old-fashioned way – on the couch with a friend or family member. 'Lego Marvel Super Heroes' is a treat for gamers of all ages and is sure to impress even the most finicky of Marvel fans. In a gaming landscape that tends to be oversaturated with bleak and apocalyptic story arcs, 'Lego Marvel Super Heroes' is a ray of sunshine that is certain to warm the heart and remind you that video games are meant to be fun.
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